Tomorrow’s Sun has a Survation poll of Newark, ahead of the by-election next week. Topline figures with changes since the general election are CON 36%(-18), LAB 27%(+5), LD 5%(-15), UKIP 28%(+24). This is the first poll we’ve had of Newark, and unless Lord Ashcroft also has one in the works it’s probably the only one.

A swing of 21 points from the Conservatives to UKIP would be a storming great swing, but the fact remains that Patrick Mercer had a pretty hefty majority at the last election, so even a swing of that size leaves the Conservatives 8 points ahead. Still a week to go though…

390 Responses to “Survation poll of Newark by-election”

1 6 7 8
  1. NC on -56

    13 approve
    78 disapprove

  2. “DC reported as saying a Juncker appointment would lead to an early referendum in UK & a probable vote to leave!-high stakes.”

    It just doesn’t make sense! Why would Cameron, a committed pro-European who has already said he would never call for UK’s departure from the EU, want to walk into such a self-set trap?

    He’s previously very carefully promised, what is effectively and ‘In-In’, referendum. Why risk turning it into a possible ‘In-Out’ one? That would be madness, and that’s one thing he doesn’t suffer from.

  3. @ newhouseset

    Hopefully, it would be an “out-out” referendum.

  4. JIM JAM

    @” these waverers will back Tory for the GE anyhow.”

    Some will-the question is how many will?

    Not so sanguine as I was about large scale returns.

    But what matters is the effect on seats & I don’t begin to understand that.

  5. One thing I would never do for Simon Hughes is “fear” unless it were for his life or health. The aftermath of the latest elections seems to have slightly upped the Labour lead. But only slightly – the 7% lead does seem to be too high as Chris said.


    DC is reported to have told them that a Juncker appointment would be a clear signal of a “deeper integration” agenda , just at a time when large numbers of EU voters have shown they don’t want this. Therefore it will “destabilise” his Government, play to UKIP’s themes -and force an early referendum .

  7. The problem with taking a “tough line on immigration” is that it’s going to cause major discomfort for activists. I know I certainly would find it difficult to go around advocating a policy I don’t believe in and much of the shadow cabinet would too.

    Harming your activist base a year before an election in pursuit of a policy which might well not work anyway is not exactly a smart thing to do. Better I think to have policies that deal with problems perceived to be raised by immigration in different ways (won’t go into my ideas here).

    I spoke to somebody from John Mann’s CLP yesterday. She described him as an “obnoxious little man” and couldn’t see why he hadn’t been deselected yet.

    I do think Labour needs to do something though, have some headline policy their members can pitch because while I could articulate NHS and transport policy for ages I kept coming up short when people would ask about immigrants.

  8. Labour lead at 3 points
    Lab 36
    Cons 33
    LD 7
    Ukip 15

  9. MRN

    @”an “obnoxious little man””

    ….with 50% of the electorate behind him & a 16% majority. :-)

  10. ……”his electorate” !

  11. @MrNameless

    You are right.

    I am a non-Labour left-leaning voter, and I’m sure in 2015 Labour will bombard me with messages like ‘vote Green, get Conservative’ etc.

    The line that Labour seems to be going down, if the Guardian/Observer letter is a sign, is a position I could never support.

    For every vote gained by this line on immigration, borrowed tactical votes will be lost from Lib Dems and Greens in marginal constituencies, who may decide that Labour is a less worse option than the Conservatives.

    Demotivating your activist base can cost marginal seats, motivated ones can win them.

  12. I’m not saying she’s right necessarily, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say most of that 50% don’t know him personally!

  13. Clegg’s approval rating in early 2010, apparently. A fall of 137 points!

  14. …was +72. Rather a vital bit of info missed there.

  15. Frank Field and Kate Hoey have a histories of rebelling against Blair as long as your arm… in recent years it seems they have been happier working with David Cameron and Boris Johnson.

    The three Labour politicians who have come out to back Miliband’s position on immigration have been Alan Milburn, John Hutton and… er, Tony Blair.

    Have to say I rarely read the Guardian these days, but from reports on these pages I was beginning to wonder about this Daniel Boffey, has the paper recruited a new zombie-Blairite perhaps? A fair amount of his output gives us the background on Roger Helmer and other Ukip candidates, plus a lot of articles detailing problems in Gove’s department. He does have another offering on Ed and immigration, with a picture from Doncaster (where Farage will be unveiling his manifesto in September) :

    Johnnie Ray, 66, a former coal miner supping ale in the Trades and Labour club, as he waited for a country and western act to begin. Asked if Miliband is saying enough to assure him, Ray spits out: “I don’t even know what he is saying.”


    Which gets me to Farage speaking “fluent pub” in the words of Gary Gibbon, and some more constructive criticism of Ed:

  16. Oh dear, not another bout of Thatcher angst. “I hated her more than you did.” competitions followed by Thatcher-loving rebuttals. Leave it alone, is my suggestion. Nothing good will ever come of it.

    Back to the polls. A little bit of a UKIP bounce following the Euros and locals, but nothing over-dramatic, although I have a feeling that there is a real stickability about their national support now. More and more polls are appearing that suggest a good proportion of their vote intends to stay loyal come May. I become ever more confident that they’ll be circa 10% at the GE, thereby injecting a totally new and game-changing dynamic into that election.

    As for the other parties, it gets grimmer and grimmer for the LDs and I’m reminded of my old friend Rob Sheffield’s predictions of a few years ago when he thought that a May 2014 drubbing in the locals would be the harbinger of internal panic. Old Robbie boy was prescient. Labour seem to have settled in that mid to upper 30s range, their natural home for many months now and it appears to be securing them a fairly consistent 3% lead in most of the polls. The Tory vote fascinates me, though. It’s been as flat as a pancake for almost too long to remember with some polls still having them in the high 20s, and most in the low 30s.

    Were the recent locals and Euro elections another reminder, if indeed one was needed, that we reside in a country that is curiously reluctant to vote Conservative, no matter how many opportunities arise for it to do so?

    Newark is going to be absolutely fascinating.

    One final thought. I watched Anna Soubry on Marr this morning and she was sneeringly dismissive of UKIP’s recent electoral performance, reminding us, quite rightly, that allowing for vote share and turnout, they received the support of less than 10% of the British electorate in the Euro elections. All true, but I wonder if it occurred to her that if the same arithmetic was applied to the May 2010 election, the party to which she belongs, and which is now governing the whole of the UK, received the support of barely 23% of the total electorate.

    These concepts of democratic deficits and weak mandates are very difficult to grasp.

  17. @Mr Nameless

    On immigration Labour should really say. ‘The problem is the exploitation of the working class through out Europe, where the workers are paying the price of unfettered capitalism’. And then continue with some socialist solutions.

    They should also say that services are strained because of lack of investment and privatisation not immigrants who tend to be young and healthy and often work in the public services.

    Take the focus off immigrants and put the blame where it belongs on the capitalist consensus and this government.

    I just agreed with Farage on Marr there ‘No tax on the minimum wage’ Labour should bring in that policy.

  18. Couper2802,

    That’s almost exactly what I did say, albeit in a less grandiose way. Problem is I was articulating my own view, not a party line.

    In fact I said something similar to some rosette-wearing UKIP members and their response was along the lines of “can’t disagree with that”. Might be a rich vein of votes to be mined there if they can get their act together.

  19. TOH.
    I also lived in a leafy Surrey town.

    There were quite a lot of Labour voters in Robert Carr’s seat, back in the 1960’s.

  20. @Catmanujeff

    I am the same as you and i agree that is what will happen.

    Looking again at the crossbreaks this morning of yougov and you can see although 8% of Lab 2010 have gone for UKIP 5% have gone for parties of the left and althoguh the ex LD crossbreak is quite healthy for Lab, there are many ex LD that have gone for the Green at the moment -13% of them. I reckon if you work out the overall numbers the split is about even between UKIP and other left parties.

    Ed M speech in Thurrock was fine by me, keep it like that IMO

    Economic questions remain the same – very negative, however the Coalitions handling of the economic is going towards parity . does that mean the voters think that things are bad and will continue to be personally bad, but the coalition is doing the best it can in the circumstances.

  21. @ Couper

    “On immigration Labour should really say. ‘The problem is the exploitation of the working class through out Europe, where the workers are paying the price of unfettered capitalism’. And then continue with some socialist solutions.”

    Look Im not a Lab voter but I’d have a lot more respect for EM if he did push Lab in that direction but at the moment my view is he too scared to say anything so decisive for fear of messing up a leading position.

    @ Mr Nameless

    “In fact I said something similar to some rosette-wearing UKIP members and their response was along the lines of “can’t disagree with that”. Might be a rich vein of votes to be mined there if they can get their act together.”

    I dont think Lab have quite grasped the danger UKIP could pose to them in GE15 by attempting to steal their clothes. I am suspicious that come September when they release their manifesto (in Doncaster of all places) we will find it full of juicy left leaning “red meat” to go alongside the tough line on immigration and the EU. (Or at the very least a manifesto that the John Mann’s of this well could easily endorse). They might well judge their are more votes to be won from the disaffected WWC than they might lose from former ex-Tories. Some of those ex Tories might even put up with short term left wing posturing in the short term such is their determination to get out of the EU / hatred for DC’s Con modernisation.

  22. My apologies for introducing Mrs Thatcher into the discussion. It’s like mentioning gun control on a US board. No good comes of it.


    I’ve been thinking that too. If they actually win seats next year it could lead to the bizarre situation of a Labour-UKIP coalition.

  24. @ Colin and Mr Nameless

    ‘I spoke to somebody from John Mann’s CLP yesterday. She described him as an “obnoxious little man” and couldn’t see why he hadn’t been deselected yet.’

    On a personal level, I quite agree. His activities in my constituency were certainly open to considerable criticism. However, seeing some of the same behaviour employed against the bankers, was very satisfactory.

    I would describe him as a one-man band rather a blairite… However, I believe that JMs role in the 90s, under Tom Sawyer, was to break the LP link with the unions – which was always a quintessential goal for New Labour.

  25. @GRHINPORTS: “…for fear of messing up a leading position.”

    Isn’t that an entirely rational fear? It seems to me that both party leaders need to appeal to their widest possible constituency to have any chance of winning a majority.

  26. @Colin

    I think we are at cross-purposes. EM has day to day policies aimed at improving the condition of the working class, which all other main UK parties have largely abandoned in the last 35 years in pursuit of the narrow so-called “middle” in South Eastern England. You may personally agree or disagree with these policies , but he has and is advocating them. Hence the pro-Trade Union, Red Ed jibes.

    Unfortubately, there is a hard media drive by those largely on the right of politics to state the the problem in leftish areas isn’t the pursuit of policies aimed at the Southern middle, but with immigrants, foreigners and the EU. The real issue is not immigration at all (which is actually relatively low in many areas), but a lack of concentration on their bread and butter issues.

    Even if Labour proposed to stop all non-EU migration, that would nor solve these bread and butter issues. Better directed domestic policies (is Ed’s approach) would.

  27. ROGERH,

    “My apologies for introducing Mrs Thatcher into the discussion.”

    You don’t think that, perhaps, Thatcher’s words and actions contribute as much to the average voter’s choice as any other matter? The toxicity remains after all these years and is measureable.

    If you constantly slag off the EU while, at the same time, agreeing to almost everything put in front of you by them, then don’t be surprised if your party becomes confused and split. UKIP is Thatcher’s other baby, now grown into its teenage. It’s a cuckoo chick.


    Listening to Farage on Marr that is exactly where he is going.

    One thing to throw out there – any chance Farage would stand against EM in Doncaster.

    The UKIP potential constituency:
    1. Anti-immigration
    2. Anti-EU
    3. Working class who arguably New Labour abandoned.

    Not actually all that dissimilar to Michael Foot’s Labour Party but because the right wing credentials are firmly established they can now bring in some vote winning left wing policies without driving out any former Tory voters.

  29. @Couper2802

    “I just agreed with Farage on Marr there ‘No tax on the minimum wage’ Labour should bring in that policy.”

    Isn’t that pretty much exactly what the Lb Dems are already doing by pushing the personal allowance up from £6,475 to £10,500? Not quite at minimum wage yet, but the current level equates to about £5.25 an hour, up from around £3.20 under Labour.

    If this is so important to ordinary people (and I personally think that it is) it’s perhaps surprising that Lib Dems get so little credit for it from those on the left.

  30. @RAF

    A commissioner in a speech last year asked… you think all your problems will be solved by leaving the EU? If you leave who will you blame then?

    Btw, had a conversation with a Tory voter last week and he was intrigued by the philosophy behind predistribution.”Why haven’t I heard anything about this?”

    Is Labour incapable of communicating these ideas, or is it just that the media are shutting them out? A wall-to-wall immigration obsession seems to have replaced a less popular austerity/undeserving poor narrative.

  31. @ RogerH

    “@GRHINPORTS: “…for fear of messing up a leading position.”
    Isn’t that an entirely rational fear? It seems to me that both party leaders need to appeal to their widest possible constituency to have any chance of winning a majority.”

    Its a rational fear…but its how your respond to it. If you dont give a clear enough message you can run the risk of either: a) Your opponents (rather than yourself) will define you in obviously the most negative light possible; or b) Your opponent will nick your position and be more credible for getting in first.

    I actually think this was the stumbling block for DC in attempting to win the last GE so EM is no orphan with this problem.

    To me its symbolic though of how our politicians of all stripes have become more worried with how what they say will be “presented” rather than actually saying something in the first place.

  32. @ Roger H,

    Isn’t that an entirely rational fear?

    In this case I’d say not really. Banging the “tough on immigration” drum accomplishes absolutely nothing for Labour, because

    a) It pisses off activists and leftwing voters like Mr. Nameless and Catmanjeff who they need to campaign and vote for them, and

    b) People who are angry about immigration don’t believe the rhetoric. It’s self-evident the Tories and Ukip are more anti-immigration than Labour, and besides, people are not idiots. They understand that any party that doesn’t want to leave the EU is not serious about reducing immigration.

    On the other hand, an argument along the lines of “We need to remain in the EU for economic and diplomatic reasons so we’re stuck with immigration. Here’s what we’re going to do to mitigate the negative impacts: build more social housing. Build more hospitals. Build more schools. Enforce the minimum wage.” has the potential to play well for Labour, because it sounds like stuff they might actually be willing to do. And which party does the public trust most with schools and the NHS and the minimum wage?

    You can see a tiny seed of this idea in their current policy, but they’ve been terrible at articulating it.


    Very well put – totally agree with you.

  34. Spearmint

    Completely agree.

    It seems to me also that EM’s personal style makes it particularly imperative that the policies he espouses are crystal clear and distinctive. I don’t think he can win a mealy-mouthed contest against Cameron and Farage doesn’t do mealy.

    Of course the danger is that all this will be inevitably presented by Pressman as Red Ed spend spend spend. But I actually wonder if this will have much impact on potential Lab supporters. Lab have never really tried to counter the ‘mess we inherited’ narrative and this is hard-wired into VI already (witness the economic competence ratings) so I doubt whether the risk is that great.

  35. @Spearmint

    Sure. Mine was intended as a general comment, not about immigration. It’s just that both leaders are going to worry about the risk of alienating the centre ground by appealing only to their traditional supporters.

  36. Anthony do you have any comments on the Survation poll much trumpeted in press on Saturday, supposedly showing UKIP supporters would stick with UKIP in a general election. I am sceptical but would very much like to hear a pollster’s comments. Apologies if it is somewhere on site, then please just direct me.


  37. David – I keep meaning to write it, but haven’t got round to it. Not that poll in particular, but similar articles written about ComRes poll, BES data and so on.

    Obviously it’s a very live issue how much of UKIP’s support remains at the general election, but all these polls and analysis of them are either confusing two points or rather missing the point.

    Looking at UKIP support at the European election, put very crudely there were two sorts of UKIP voters. People who voted UKIP at the Euros and say they’d also vote for them at a general election, and people who voted for them at the European election, but consciously said they wouldn’t do so at a general election (the ones I usually describe as lending their vote to UKIP for just the Euros). Most of the recent articles have concentrated on the difference between those groups, and its very easy to measure – you just compare Euro VI and Westminster VI.

    However, the newspapers are writing about it as if it’s measuring something else – what proportion of people who voted UKIP in the Euros, say they’d vote UKIP at Westminster now but won’t actually do so come the election. We don’t know how big that group is, as it relies upon people actually predicting that they’ll change their mind in the future, which we can’t do very well.

    Think of UKIP Euro support as three groups:

    A) People who voted UKIP in the Euros, but know and state they vote differently in a general election NOW
    B) People who voted UKIP in the Euros and will actually vote UKIP when the next general election comes
    C) People who voted UKIP in the Euros, say they would vote UKIP in a general election tomorrow, but in reality will change their mind at some point between now and May 2015

    Group A is easy to measure, and that’s what most of these recent exercises have done. The sizes of B & C compared to each other are impossible to measure – polls can’t predict the future.

  38. Anthony,
    Isn’t there logically a fourth group?

    D) People who voted UKIP in the euros, say they would not vote UKIP in a general election tomorrow, but in reality will change their mind at some point between now and May 2015, and stay with UKIP.

    This might happen if Newark and other events start a bandwagon effect.

  39. I don’t think a UKIP bandwagon is remotely likely. People will be voting for a government in 2015 and I would expect UKIP’s total support to be below 10%.

  40. Thanks very much Anthony for your comment which I found illuminating. I am very impressed by the quality of your site. I would just note that the Survation poll the press trumpeted on Saturday was in fact commissioned by UKIP itself. And it seemed to show a determination by a majority of UK voters in the Euro elections to stick with them through to the General Election.. As you quite rightly say: so what? They may or they may not. But I wondered if the poll itself is reliable or UKIP had commissioned it in such a way as to get the answers they wanted?

1 6 7 8